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Collaborate Your Way to a Stronger Business

December 29, 2014

Working together with colleagues, partners, suppliers and customers gives companies the agility to drive innovation and success. Collaborative work environments are taking off due to a number of trends.

Working together with colleagues, partners, suppliers and customers gives companies the agility to drive innovation and success.

Collaborative work environments are taking off due to a number of trends:

  • Global customers, partners and suppliers
  • Growth of knowledge-based workplaces
  • Increasing simplicity of technology’s design and use
  • Mobile teams – can work from anywhere
  • Social media
  • Cloud computing
  • The Internet of Everything

The restaurant owner, realtor, or the attorney managing a small practice can leverage a collaborative environment to drive business, increase employee productivity and form new partner and vendor relationships.

Take the case of the small legal office. Having a solution like Windows SharePoint Services can streamline the incredible amount of documents associated with legal cases and will ensure that the entire team of attorneys and paralegals is working on the latest versions and sharing the latest information. Sharing and synchronizing email, calendars, contacts and tasks helps to avoid wasted time and effort, providing value to the client and to the firm.

Collaboration not only brings operational efficiencies to an organization – it can redefine it.

Working Together Drives Innovation

A proven approach to business success coupled with the technology tools and social networking mindset of today is taking “working together” to a whole new level.

There is an instinctive move to teaming in the business environment and it’s likely driven by the recent burst in social networking among business users and the adoption of cloud services by small businesses. Indeed, according to a survey from cloud services provider j2 Global, 88 percent of SMB owners said they planned to move legacy technology into the cloud in 2014. And analyst firm SMB Group estimates that SMB use of cloud applications for business is poised to grow to 44 percent by the end of 2014.

Social media has become a vital axis upon which the small business community turns. Consider what LinkedIn and market research firm TNS found when they surveyed decision makers at 1,000 SMBs recently:

Take the small restaurant owner with high-school and college-age wait staff and kitchen help. He requires a little “Social Media 101” to learn to communicate with them. Tweeting out schedule changes, generating buzz on new menu items through Facebook and blogging about the daily specials helps to engage the employees and also opens up a path to a new, younger customer as well as potential employees.

Stepping Up Your Collaboration Efforts

To truly drive innovation, companies must make data available to more people in the organization and then implement solutions to harness the collective knowledge, experience and communities that social networks foster.

It’s important to first ensure that the company culture is one of collaboration and trust. Then implementing online collaboration tools – shared project planning, document management, online meetings, centralized task management and shared calendars and contacts – just takes that culture to the next level.

Enabling high productivity in today’s always-on world requires a strategic approach to collaboration. Successful organizations will take the steps to streamline their operational environment and equip their employees, customers and partners with the tools to innovate.

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